Giving Brings Joy

Marty and Lisa Greenberg remember Saint John’s in their estate plans.

BY SHARI ROAN / PHOTOGRAPHED BY PHILLIP GRAYBILL

To Marty Greenberg, giving is a way of life. He’s known to drop off gifts, such as a bottle of perfume or flowers, to people who have gone
out of their way for him. That generosity extends to all areas of his life, including philanthropic giving. He and his wife, Lisa, are longtime friends and supporters of Providence Saint John’s Health Center—dating back almost three decades ago when Lisa sought care at Saint John’s.
They have chosen to express their gratitude by remembering the health center in their estate plans.

“Saint John’s is a special place. They are caring people,” Greenberg says. “If there is a way I can help them and help other people, I’m good with that.” Estate planning makes sense and has left the Greenbergs assured that the people and causes they care about will be supported for years to come. “Sometimes people accumulate wealth over their life, and they don’t know what to do with it,” Greenberg says. “We will make sure people and the organizations we care about are secure by having the money they need many years from now.”

Of course, financial matters have always been easy for Greenberg. He was born in Brooklyn and attended New York University, where he was known for having a head for numbers. During his service with the Army, he was assigned to manage the entire Army payrolls at the bases in Okinawa and Tokyo, Japan. The Greenbergs eventually landed in Los Angeles where Marty founded a large and successful insurance company, that includes underwriting for the entertainment industry. Marty Greenberg handed the reigns of the company over to his daughter, Diana, several years ago, so the family business remains close to his heart. Through his career, Greenberg also served on numerous insurance advisory boards and devoted time to many charitable boards and foundations.

“Look at everything that is happening in health care now—all of the new services and new technologies. These people save lives.”

But one organization has been especially close to his heart. In the 1990s, Greenberg was asked to join a group of couples to provide philanthropic support to a local hospital. His involvement eventually led the Greenbergs and several other couples to found the Associates for Breast and Prostate Cancer Studies (ABCs) to support research at the John Wayne Cancer Institute (now known as the Saint John’s Cancer Institute). Greenberg was one of the group’s early presidents. Currently chaired by Gloria Gebbia, the ABCs has raised more than $15 million and is widely known for its spectacular Talk of the Town annual gala. Marty and Lisa Greenberg, who were honorees at the 2019 event, have raised considerable funds through the insurance industry.

The Greenbergs also became friends with the institute’s cofounder, Donald L. Morton, MD, who helped care for Lisa years ago during a skin cancer scare. “The ABCs has raised a lot of money,” Greenberg says.

“We’ve helped a lot of people with serious cancers. When people with cancer would ask me where to get care, I would steer them to Saint John’s. Later I would ask them to make a donation to Saint John’s and become a member of ABCs too.” The Greenberg’s estate gift will have an impact for years to come, says Andy Trilling, vice president of legacy and principal gifts at Saint John’s Health Center Foundation.

“We are truly grateful to Marty and Lisa for their longstanding friendship and support and that they have chosen to share their future estate plans with us,” Trilling says. “We appreciate knowing their intentions in advance, which enables Saint John’s to plan strategically for the future and to recognize Marty and Lisa’s generosity during their lifetime.” The couple continue to receive care from Saint John’s physicians. “Saint John’s is a family,” Greenberg says.

“It’s the place to go. They watch over you and make sure you recover. They express concern for their patients.” Over the years, Greenberg says, he has watched as Saint John’s has expanded and ventured into new areas of health care. The hospital is the pride of the Westside, he says, and should be the focus of continued philanthropic support to maintain its standing.

“Look at everything that is happening in health care now— all of the new services and new technologies,” he says. “These people save lives. We need to give them the money so they can continue to work on new treatments and cures. Our fervent hopes are that Saint John’s remains a pioneer to help all who need care or are searching for a cure.”

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